More SCO licensees go public

Computer Associates Inc., natural gas supplier Questar Corp., and manufacturer Legget & Platt Inc. have joined Internet hosting company EV1Servers.Net by going public with their purchases of The SCO Group Inc.’s intellectual property (IP) license for Linux, SCO confirmed Wednesday.

EV1Servers.Net, a division of Everyones Internet, based in Houston announced its SCO IP license purchase Monday. EV1Servers.Net hosts about 20,000 servers running Red Hat Inc.’s Linux or Microsoft Corp.’s Windows.

SCO is embroiled in a lawsuit against IBM Corp., claiming IBM illegally contributed some of the Unix System V code into the Linux project. As a result, SCO has been demanding since May 2003 that Linux users pay SCO a licensing fee for the use of the open source operating system at the rate of US$699 per processor. The company has also launched suits against Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc.

However, one industry insider doesn’t think the actions of four companies are enough to jumpstart mass purchasing of SCO IP licenses.

“It’s not at all clear to me that the people who purchased licenses represent a growing trend. If you offer something for sale and present it in the right way, almost anyone will buy it. Eventually you will find someone who agrees,” said Dan Kusnetzky, vice-president, system software at IDC Ltd., in Framingham, Mass. “Our surveys indicate for the most part, that IT organizations, at least in North America, are waiting to see the results of the court cases pending before making a move.”

Additionally, he said it isn’t yet proven if IBM did give away trade secrets to Linux.

“So far SCO’s facts show pieces of Unix as they were put into open source as part of the agreement between AT&T and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, that created Berkeley Standard Distribution (BSD),” he said.

He said that for a long time UC Berkeley provided BSD, a sophisticated version of Unix. Additionally, he said Sun Microsystems Inc.’s original operating system, Sun OS, was based on BSD as well as portions of IBM’s Unix distribution, AIX.

Recently, Brooke Well, the judge presiding over SCO’s case against IBM in U.S. District Court in Utah, ordered IBM to provide SCO with source code from IBM’s AIX and Dynix distributions and any other code it provided to Linux.

The judge had earlier ordered SCO to provide IBM with the code it claims IBM misappropriated.

On Wednesday SCO launched a lawsuit against Linux user auto parts chain, Autozone Inc. claiming the company is violating SCO’s IP by running Linux. SCO also sued Unix licensee Daimler Chrysler Corp. for allegedly refusing to certify that it is complying with the terms of its Unix license. Neither company was available for comment.

— With files from IDG News Service

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